Posts Tagged ‘consumer trends’

Consumers Keen to Buy, Reluctant to Share

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Last week I wrote to you about how social media provides great opportunities to learn about customers, and it seems the modern consumer is well and truly on to us, with research revealing they are increasingly distrustful of sharing personal data online.

Michael Barnett of Marketing Week wrote last week about increasing pushback by consumers, who have become wary of tactics by companies who have used the slippery slope approach of the ‘assumed opt-in’ to garner the assent of customers and their willingness to divulge personal information just in order to make a purchase.

Michael writes that new legislation drafted for consideration in the EU, if passed, will require companies to seek the explicit consent of consumers prior to seeking their information, and do away with the ‘pre-ticked box’ approach that has been prevalent up until now.

The Direct Marketing Association is concerned by this trend, and sees it – rightly – as an attack upon the future potential of online sources of direct marketing.

What has been missed here is that these increasing levels of scepticism and mistrust will potentially deliver to brands that are smart enough to capitalise upon it, a great opportunity.

While a consumer may resent wholeheartedly filling in a questionnaire just so that they can top up their broadband account or renew a magazine subscription, they would be more willing to undertake a ‘getting to know you’ exercise by a brand that they really LOVED.

For example – an enterprising jewellery store might reasonably enquire of a customer the dates of their birthdays and wedding anniversaries, with the idea of sending through their latest catalogue just in time for handy hints to be dropped about what someone might like for a present to commemorate these milestones.

Or the sellers of prestige vehicles might enquire as to a customer’s size (along with other key info) prior to despatching a shirt or cap emblazoned with the brand of purchaser by way of post-sales follow up, demonstrating a personal touch as well as providing the company with a captive marketing opportunity.

Although the legislative and regulatory framework still struggles to keep up with online advances in market research as they impact upon consumers and their personal rights, smart companies with good strategies and loyal customers will find they are still able to capture all that they need from their loyal consumers, and more!

Publicity Queen
Yours in PR

How to Use Social Media as a Sales Tool

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For many businesses, creating social media content is just the latest on their corporate ‘to do’ list, and while some would recognise its importance in building brand awareness, others are discovering how to turn these virtual communities into tangible sales.

Greg Moore, Managing Director of Huthwaite Asia-Pacific wrote recently that social media now provides a direct hotline straight to the consumers that by-passes the filters inherent in the media and advertising.

By focusing on the consumer, and using social media to better understand their lifestyles, preferences and tastes, companies can target their market offering to anticipate and then fill market needs without having to pay for surveys, focus groups or other forms of market testing.

So, how can we use social media to… for want of a better word… SELL, SELL, SELL!?

Research/Brand Platform: Social media channels enable sellers to understand the kind of user behaviours or opinions in a closer and quicker setting, and without the interference and inherent bias (not to mention cost) of third party input. With the advent of social media, a company can just go to Facebook or online blogs to read what consumers are saying about their products and services or observe the people coming to their websites as well as using the search engine optimisation tool to deduce the familiarity of their brand name.

Prospecting: Social media is useful for a prospecting in the marketplace to learn about the latest news and developments of your prospects businesses. This can then be used to channel your messages. For instance, if the individual prospect blogs, or posts on LinkedIn, then you can learn about what is important to them and what is likely to strike a chord when you approach them.

Building Relationships: Social media channels enable buyers to make their grievances known and sellers can learn more about their buyers’ problems and issues with the products and services and address them. This can enhance buyer confidence, help to build the relationship between the buyer and the seller, enable the seller to easily identify the needs of the target consumer and ultimately cater for these needs.

Achieving Brand Consistency: Consistency in branding and messaging is a necessary promotion any social media strategy. By continuously reaching out to buyers online and leveraging on the relationship, sellers can communicate with their customers on social media platforms and build relationships with their clients, consumers and prospects; a level of engagement that was previously unavailable.

So what’s the learning here? Social media provides your business with the opportunity to put your customer front and centre in your thinking, to study them, learn their behaviour, tastes and preferences, and use that market intel not just to market your products more effectively, but to actually develop your goods and services to fit their needs, and use the same medium to then sell to them. Genius!

How does social media feature in your market research and retail strategy? Write and let me know.

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Yours in PR

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